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Triple-I Blog | Mudslides Often follow Wildfire; Prepare, feel insurance implications



As forest fires continue to burn in California, Oregon, Colorado and elsewhere – and people are asking for rainfall to help firefighters in their efforts – another threat is looming: mud.

Wet weather is in the Oregon forecast, and the Marion County Sheriff & # 39 ;s Office warned of mud and falling trees will be a major problem with so much burned land in the county. Areas that could be severely affected include Mill City and Gates, where many of the cities have been destroyed by forest fires.

The sheriff's office said people need to be aware of what is happening around them and heed warnings from local authorities.

"We are really worried when the strong winds pick up speed, some of them coming down and creating more dangers along the way, more than we would see in a typical windstorm," Sgt. Jeremy Landers with the Marion County Sheriff & # 39 ;s Office said.

He added that it is important that people have a plan in place if the weather becomes dangerous.

Santa Cruz County, California, is also preparing for mudslides in the aftermath of the CZU Lighting Complex fire in August. Carolyn Burke, a senior civil engineer, said during a special meeting of the Santa Cruz County Supervisor Board: "The only effective way to protect" is early warning and evacuation.

The fire in the Santa Cruz Mountains burned 86,509 acres ̵

1; and while Cal Fire on September 22 said it was 100% contained, there is a risk of fires igniting and the subsequent risk of landslides when it rains. The rainy season there has a history from September to November.

In Colorado, cooler temperatures, rain, and snow have helped suppress the fires that have raged across that state. Alaska Incident Management Team Incident Commander Norm McDonald wrote about his team's work with Grizzly Creek Fire, “While our mission ends with Grizzly Creek Fire at 91% containment, we realize that there is still a lot of work to be done and the consequences of this fire will be long-lived with potential for mud and floods.

For insurance purposes, it is important to understand the difference between "mudslides" and "mudflow."

Landslides occur when a mass of earth or rock moves downhill, which is driven by gravity. They usually do not contain enough liquid to seep into your home, and they are not eligible for flood insurance. In fact, mudslides are not covered by any policy .

Mudflow is covered by flood insurance, which is available from FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and a growing number of private insurance companies. Like flooding, mudflows are excluded from regular homeowners and business insurers – you must purchase coverage separately.


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